First Westfield Center International Organ Competition Comes to Cornell

Out of thirty-two applicants from all over the world, twelve young organists have been chosen to compete in the first Westfield International Organ Competition, to be held at Cornell and at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester on September 22-29, 2013. The twelve young artists represent seven countries including Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland and the US. “It was very difficult to select just twelve to invite here in September,” said Cornell professor Annette Richards, Executive Director of the Westfield Center. “This is a very exciting pool of young musicians, who submitted recordings of an exceptionally high standard. We can look forward to hearing some outstanding performances on the three wonderful competition instruments.”

The international jury, made up of five of the leading experts in performance on historical organs, Bernard Foccroulle (Belgium), Jon Laukvik (Norway), Kimberly Marshall (USA), Jacques van Oortmerssen (The Netherlands), and David Yearsley (USA), will distribute prize money totaling $17,500 to the three top winners of the competition. The first place winner will also receive the opportunity to play solo recitals in the US and Europe and to make a CD recording with the Loft label.

The Competition: Competition events will begin with a recital by jurors Kimberly Marshall and David Yearsley on Sunday, September 22, at 3 pm in Cornell University’s Anabel Taylor Chapel. An opening recital given by Edoardo Bellotti will follow that evening in Rochester, at the Memorial Art Gallery. The twelve competitors will compete in the first round in Rochester, September 23 and 24. Six competitors go on to the second round in Ithaca, on September 26. Three finalists will perform in the third and final round in Rochester, at Christ Church on September 28, and the winners will play a recital in Ithaca on September 29 at 8pm.

The Instruments: During the week, young organists from around the world will perform on a collection of outstanding instruments: the Craighead-Saunders organ at Christ Church, Rochester, modeled on the 1776 Adam Gottlob Casparini organ in Vilnius, Lithuania; the original 18th-century Italian organ in the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester; and the organ in Anabel Taylor Chapel at Cornell University, based on the 1706 Arp Schnitger organ at Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin. In masterclasses in an Academy accompanying the competition, these young performers will also play the Paul Fritts organ at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Rochester, and the 1940 Aeolian-Skinner organ and the original 18th-century Italian organ in Sage Chapel at Cornell. Events are free and open to the public.

About the Westfield Center at Cornell: The Westfield Center, the country’s preeminent organization for the advancement of classical keyboard music, is recognized for its advocacy on behalf of classical keyboard instruments and for outstanding workshops, symposia, and publications. The International Keyboard Competition and Summer Academy series has allowed the Westfield Center to bring together leaders in the field of historical keyboard performance with young musicians in the early stages of their careers, to combine performance on historical (or historically-informed) keyboard instruments with learning about the instruments and their repertoires.

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